Johnny Hartman

Two Englishmen, Guy Wood and Robert Mellin, slipped it into the Great American Songbook just before it closed, just as rock rolled over sophistication. It begins from below, a slowly twisting Roman candle of a tune, and explodes in the top range of the singer, as the eyes of onlookers reflect the glory of what songs once were.

Author Gregg Akkerman has penned a much talked-about biography on the life of jazz singer Johnny Hartman. The Last Balladeer: The Johnny Hartman Story traces the journey of the Grammy-nominated vocalist from his big-band origins with Earl Hines and Dizzy Gillespie to his storied career as a solo recording artist.